Norway survivors return to Utoeya

Survivors of last month's massacre head back to Utoeya island to remember the victims ahead of a national day of remembrance.

By REUTERS
August 20, 2011 20:06
1 minute read.
Utoeya island, Norway

Norway Island 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The beautiful island of Utoeya in Norway.

Just one month ago the calm of this idyllic spot was shattered when right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik went on a murderous rampage here - killing 69 people.

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Those killed at Utoeya were mostly teenagers attending a youth camp of the ruling Labor Party.

Flowers, candles and cards at this memorial overlooking the island pay testament to his victims.

On Saturday - one day ahead of a national day of remembrance - survivors and their relatives make an emotional return to the island.

Among them will be Adrian Pracon, a Breivik shooting victim who survived by playing dead.

The 21-year-old, who still has bullet splinters in his left shoulder from being shot at point-blank range, said on Friday that the visit would be an important step in the healing process.

Adrian Pracon said, "And I feel like I am trying to keep it at a distance. And right now I am trying to get back to the feelings, back to the emotions, back to what I feel about this. It is going to be an extremely emotional day for me as I get back on the island and it is going to be something I really think I need. I believe I need to cry. And I need to feel what is really going on because, to be honest, I am still in denial of what is going on."

Per Brekke, deputy director of Oslo's Department of Justice, agrees,
"It's not only sad memories but also positive memories from the island, and seeking together, seeking comfort together and being together is an important step in the very difficult process they have in dealing with what they experienced on the 22nd."

Around 1,000 people are expected to make the journey to the island today.


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